The Dutch supreme court has reduced the state’s liability for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre against Muslims during the Bosnian war, saying peacekeepers had only a “slim” chance of preventing the deaths of hundreds of Muslim men.
Judges reduced to 10% from 30% the Dutch state’s responsibility for compensation to the families of 350 victims killed by Bosnian Serb forces who overran the safe haven.
Lightly armed Dutch UN peacekeepers were overrun by the Bosnian Serbs during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, triggering the worst atrocity in Europe since the second world war.
“The Dutch state bears very limited liability,” the supreme court said. “That liability is limited to 10% of the damages suffered by the surviving relatives of approximately 350 victims.”
The relatives are represented by the Mothers of Srebrenica victims’ organisation which sued for compensation, sparking a years-long legal battle.
Munira Subašić, the president of the Mothers, said she was disappointed with the judgment. “Today we experienced humiliation upon humiliation. We could not even hear the judgment in our own language because we were not given a translator,” she said.
At Srebrenica “every life was taken away 100%. There is little we can do with 10%, but yes, the responsibility still lies where it does.”